Road race draws large crowd
NAUGATUCK — Dressed nearly all in green, Michele Guglielmo, a teacher in Waterbury Public Schools, finished her first official 5K in downtown Naugatuck on Saturday.
Guglielmo, 32, of North Haven, who sported a bright green wig with braided pig tails, accomplished that feat during the Ion Bank St. Patrick’s Day Road Race and Festival. She ran with her two friends, Charlene Dudginski, 28, a Waterbury school teacher, and Lisa Varhue, 29, a Middletown school teacher.
“I couldn’t do this a year ago,” said Guglielmo, who has lost 94 pounds in 15 months.
Now she hopes to make this the first of many.
She joined about 600 other runners in the annual road race that began four years ago, said James Goggin, co-race director and the borough’s tax collector. He said his wife Susan Goggin wanted to raise money for something, and he had run a few 5Ks so he turned to David Heller, chairman of the Board of Education who had organized a few. And that’s how it started, he said.
Money raised benefits the Naugatuck Education Foundation, which gives grants to teachers who want to implement extracurricular programs for students.
Joan Doback, the foundation’s former chairwoman, said the race is the foundation’s main fundraiser. It has another fundraiser called Eve before the Eve. Last year’s race raised $8,000, and the foundation combined that with the $2,000 it raised from the other fundraiser to give out $10,000 in grants, she said. This year’s grants will be given in April.
Heller, co-race director, said while this is the fourth year for the race, it’s the first year sponsored by Ion Bank. It featured a new course and added a 10K race in addition to the 5K, he said.
The start and finish line also was moved next to Town Hall across from the firehouse to accommodate a larger crowd, Heller said. Last year, they had about 350 runners, he said.
Runners took to the streets in various shades of green and costumes, including sparkling tutus and large leprechaun hats. Finishers feasted on bananas and later ate corned-beef sandwiches or hot dogs, with some beer or soda. The Naugatuck High School Marching Band drumline also performed.
A City Hill Middle School group ran together — Lisa Leonard, Katie Molinaro, Tiffany Deitelbaum, Lisa LaChance, Brian Hendrickson and Todd Murphy, plus Debra Sill, security guard, and Sill’s daughter, Brandi Sill.
“This is just a great day for us to show support for the Naugatuck Education Foundation,” said Leonard, a teacher. “It’s great to see the hundreds of students who came out to run and support us as well.”
At the end of her first 5K, Guglielmo said she felt “exhausted but accomplished.”
Results of the race are available on Fast Track Timing’s website, www.fasttrackcoaching.net/timing/.